So here's a quick overview and some photos!
The idea behind the workshop was to share tips on writing a good CV, excelling at interviews and chasing your career dreams. It was open to ladies only, and interested persons were required to send in a 300 word essay on their definition of success, and a 30 word essay on why they wanted to attend. Within a few days, 90 applications were received and through a thorough and gruelling process, 20 candidates were shortlisted based on the strength of their responses. Successful candidates included undergraduates, postgraduates and young professionals. We were rather surprised to find that a couple of people travelled into Lagos for the event. In particular, one person travelled all the way from Benue State to attend!
Considering that the workshop was self-funded and was born out of a need for us to give back to society, it was pretty difficult to select a venue that was affordable yet stylish. We finally settled for the VIP section of restaurant in Victoria Island. This sadly meant that we couldn’t have access to a projector, so we had to make do!
Attendees were encouraged to network from the very beginning of the event, and as an icebreaker, we played a little game. Basically, the participant who sat next to you was burdened with the task of finding an adjective to describe you, and this adjective must begin with the same letter as your name. We had “Amazing Ayomide”, “High-Class Hembafan”, “Nice Nadine” and so on. This really encouraged interaction and attendees had to write their newly acquired names as creatively as possible on cardboard provided for that purpose.
First, we discussed the need to think global and explained that in today's world, it is not ideal to limit your aspirations to Nigeria - or your locality. The world is becoming a global village and Nigerian students and graduates must begin to think big at the very least, and consider how to excel on the world stage. The initial presentation was on writing the CVs and cover letters, where we addressed issues like the layout of the CV, common mistakes, typographical errors, use of buzz words and identifying and using relevant experience including volunteering.
Next, we talked about how to apply to open jobs, send speculative applications, research on international programs and fellowships, cold emailing and the use of LinkedIn.
We did promise that we would serve a two course meal, so we had to break for the starter, and it was amazing! No kidding, facilitators and attendees alike could not get enough of the sticky well-marinated chicken wings. After the short break, the participants were split into four groups and they had to give five minute presentations which bordered on preparing for job interviews. The presentations were very lively, with participants truly getting into character.
Finally, we discussed how to prepare for interviews, the use of the STAR technique, power posing, dressing, etiquette, asking questions and succeeding at assessment centres. The day ended with an equally amazing lunch, and a one on one evaluation of the CVs of each of the participants.
Judging from the feedback forms we received the event was a huge success. To quote a few people:
• "Both Kachi and Mariam passed on so much knowledge in the easiest and most relatable way. I think I'm ready for my next interview"
• "It was very well planned. I particularly liked the group presentations and the lessons from them"
• "The workshop was full of eye-opening content and delivery was friendly, direct and wonderful"
We're so glad we were able to host this workshop, although terribly saddened at the sheer number of rejection emails we had to send out. Some of the reasons why some candidates didn't scale through include not complying with the word count, typos and grammatical errors. Although we provided detailed feedback to these persons, it would have been better to have everyone attend - because at the end of the day there's a huge gap that must be filled in this area.
Going forward, the idea for Global Nigerians is to build a platform that allows for career tips to be shared from those who know to those who don't. There is a lot of focus and attention on how to become a successful entrepreneur but more often than not, people are not given guidance on how to build a successful career. There's only so much messages one can respond to on LinkedIn, asking these questions, so ideally, we'll aim to have a major conference every year and several workshops all over the world that would allow for Nigerians of various discipline to gather and give practical tips on excelling in their careers and achieving full potential. As an example, we hope to host another mini workshop in London later this year, discussing the relevance of obtaining a UK LL.M degree and next steps after obtaining the said degree.
This workshop was therefore essentially testing the waters, and now we think we are ready to swim. We are happy to partner with interested parties on future events so please let us know if you'll like to come on board.
Finally we'll like to really thank all of the participants for attending, as well as OluFems Photography and C.M Photography for volunteering to take photos on the day. We also thank John Bamgbose for his support and of course, Bella Naija for publicising the workshop. We feel very happy to have done this, and we probably only frowned a little bit when we paid the bill and the debit alert came in rather too quickly!
Now to the Photos!
That's it people! Now, just or fun: If you had to add an adjective to the front of your name, that starts with the first letter of your name, what will it be!?
pS: Can't get over how gorgeous everyone looked!
ppS: A similar version of this update was first published on BellaNaija, here.
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